U.S. Geography Quiz
You may think your middle school geography class prepared you for any pop quiz — but how much do you really know about the United States?
We’re not just asking you about the capital of Missouri here; we want you to dig deep to answer questions that show how varied, complicated and gigantic the U.S. really is.
From the Pacific to the Atlantic and from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, here are the 20 most challenging questions about American geography.
(And by the way, the capital of Missouri is Jefferson City.)
Let’s get started...
A: Most people say Mt. Everest, of course, but the highest mountain the world is actually in Hawaii, so long as you measure from it from its base in the Pacific Ocean. Mauna Kea is its name, and it rises 33,000 feet from its base, although "only" 13,800 feet of that is above water.
A: Did you say New York? Sorry! The icon is technically located in New Jersey. While Liberty Island, where it resides, is in New York, the waters surrounding the island belong to New Jersey, and it's much closer to Jersey's mainland than New York's. (Warning: This is a serious point of contention among locals of the two states.)
A: Rhode Island and Delaware, our two smallest states in geographic size, are common choices, but Wyoming is actually the least populated state. Only a little over 550,000 people call it home.
A: For some reason, people often think it’s Texas, but no way! Alaska is over twice as big as Texas, making it the largest state, by far.
A: Maine wins here, even though most people think Florida is the right answer. But Quoddy Head in Maine is actually 1,000 miles closer to Morocco than Florida is.
A: Did you immediately respond with “Charleston”? That’s a common error. Charleston is the oldest city in the state, but Columbia is actually the capital.
A: False! While this is true in some places, several U.S. states have land that is farther south than Mexico. These include Arizona, New Mexico and California, but also Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Hawaii, among others.
A: Michigan is the obvious first guess, given its proximity to the Great Lakes. Or maybe you guessed Minnesota, the “land of 10,000 lakes”? Both are wrong. Alaska has over 91,000 square miles of water, making it the winner.
A: False. Actually, you can. If conditions are right, parts of Russia are visible from the island of Little Diomede in Alaska.
A: Washington, D.C. actually wins this one with 10,500 or so people per square mile, but since it’s a not a state, we’ll agree that New Jersey is the most densely populated with about 1,200 people per square mile.
A: It’s not Sacramento. It’s Salem, in Oregon!
A: True! Reno is about 85 miles farther west than L.A.
A: Think it’s Maine? Wrong. It’s Alaska, which actually stretches into the Eastern Hemisphere.
A: It’s true. Manhattan has over 200 zip codes and more than 40 of those are assigned to specific buildings, including the Empire State Building.
A: It’s not California, Florida or Texas, but Alaska. Its coast runs for over 6,600 miles.
A: The answers are Missouri and Tennessee. Missouri borders Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, while Tennessee borders Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas…and Missouri.
A: False. The Atlantic, the Pacific and the Arctic Ocean all border on one or more U.S. states.
A: It’s not the Mississippi! The Missouri River is the longest in the U.S. It’s 2,341 miles, 139 miles longer than the Mississippi.
A: Many folks guess one of the Great Lakes or the Great Salt Lake of Utah. Nah. Instead, Crater Lake in Oregon is the deepest, at 1,932 feet.
A: True! Sort of. Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, and is on the border between the United States and Canada.